Thursday, July 23, 2009


Why does the word ghost contain a silent h? "The h is not sounded, as it was only added under the impression that such a mysterious word needed the mysterious breathing of an h to produce its effect. The same applied to the spelling aghast, originally written agast; but it does not apply to ghoul, a grave robber, in which the gh is derived from an Arabic guttural" (Paul D. Hugon, The Modern Word Finer, 1927, p. 142).

Pictured is a silent H from Calico Ghost Town, California (thanks Leo Reynolds).

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